The Shady Porch: New Year Party Ideas - Decorations & Games


New Year Party Ideas - Decorations & Games

For years, we've hosted a family New Year's Eve party. This year, obstacles of time and distance are too much to overcome and we won't be having one. However, this is the perfect time to  share some of my past decoration and entertainment ideas and I am hopeful you will find something that will make your party planning easier!

I usually have 2-3 decorated tables set up for the guests and those tables contain the bulk of the decor for the event. I like to use styrofoam cones to make bright centerpieces that hold the noisemakers for the midnight hour. They are colorful and add sparkle to the tablescape. The cones are also great for presenting some of the party foods. For example, a green and black olive tree, a cheese cube, sausage and grapes tree, and a cream puff pastries tree! 

Many folks see New Year celebrations as grown up events, but the greatest things about our parties are the kids! All of the invited families bring their kids; they like parties, too! I plan more activities for the kids than I did the adults because the grown-ups love watching them play the games! It was great entertainment! Here are a couple of the games that were favorites among the younger party-goers. 

The Classic Sock Game
First, raid the hubby's sock drawer. Pile the separated socks in the floor and have the kids that want to play sit in a circle around the socks. Tell them that when the bell rings, they have x amount of time (one year, we made the time very short and had rounds!) to put on as many socks as they can and the one with the most socks on their feet wins! If you are not sure you have enough socks, have them use only one foot. The hubby wasn't confident about this game prior to our first play, but he admitted this was great fun and he had to fight the urge to join in. (I was not surprised about the last part!) The kids get frantic as they race each other AND the clock!

Frogs & Bugs Game
If you don't mind the noise, get those silly blow out party noisemakers. Now unroll each noisemaker and stick a Velcro circle (hook-type and adhesive backed) on the end and roll it back up. This is now your frog's long sticky tongue - give one to each child. Now using felt (or the loop-halves) make some "bugs" and place them in a central area. To play, have the kids "catch" the felt bugs using their Velcro tongues. The one with the most bugs in the allotted time wins! (I recommend that you prep this game pre-party and make sure your Velcro will pick-up the felt you are using!) A great surprise was how much the older kids enjoyed this along with the younger ones. The sound and action entertain the younger set, but the older kids took this as a skill challenge. It was great to watch.

Kid & Adults Can Play together!

FFEACH (or CHEAFF, depending on your preference...)
(Source - Ultimate Camp Resource)
FFEACH (Fast Foods, Electrical Appliances, and Cartoon Heroes) is a charades race. Teams compete against each other to complete a predetermined list of items (which can be tailored to your group, according to participant age, interests, etc).
1. Divide your party into 2 or more teams.(The more, the more exciting!)
2. Have the teams spread out through the kitchen and living area (our great room was perfect for this) so that they can't overhear the other teams' answers.
3. Ask one member from each team to come to the you (Master of Ceremonies (MC)).
4. Whisper the first word to the first set of volunteers and, at your signal, release them to their teams at the same time.
5. Once a member of the group guesses the word correctly, another team member runs to the MC for the next word. Advise the team when you are giving instructions that no one can come up for a word twice until every team member has gone up once. This ensures that everyone participates.
6. The team player must tell the MC what word their team just guessed, and the MC tells the new player the next word on the list.
7. The object of the game is to complete the entire list first and without cheating (this will be more of a problem with the adults than with the kids!)

1. Superman                              11. Fruit Juicer
2. Curly Fries                            12. Scooby Doo
3. Spongebob Square Pants    13. Batman
4. Waffle Maker                       14. MP3 Player
5. Remote Control                   15. Bacon Double Cheeseburger
6. Pepperoni Pizza                  16. Defibrillator
7. Incredible Hulk                   17. Papa Smurf
8. Dishwasher                          18. Blender
9. Microwave                           19. Wonder Woman
10. McNuggets                        20. Onion Rings

Fun for the Adults
Name That Tune
One of the favorites for the adults is our version of "Name That Tune." We use our XM radio and, since the display has the song title and artist, someone presses the 'SCAN' button and when the radio grabs a signal, whoever guesses the song and/or artist gets a point and the first person or team to reach 10 points (or whatever number you all agree to) wins! This is another one the older kids will be good at, and the conversations about what the songs mean to (or meant to) us are both hilarious and precious.

Winners were awarded Prizes that were usually items I picked up at the Dollar Tree. For example, notepads, address books, candles for the adults and toys, ribbons and game books for the kids.  Word of advice - kaleidoscopes purchased for a dollar can be disappointing!

Often, there are two parties going on at the same time...the energetic competition of these games, and the quiet conversations and reminiscences in conversations on couches and at tables. Both activities create lasting memories of precious family time. I hope your gathering is blessed as we say goodbye to all that last year brought us and hello to everything that the New Year promises.